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Abe, Kenny affirm cooperation to realize Japan-EU FTA soon


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny affirmed on Wednesday their cooperation to realize a free trade agreement between Japan and the European Union at an early date.

During the first visit to Ireland by a sitting Japanese premier, Abe agreed to bolster ties with Ireland, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the 27-member European Union.

On Abe's economic policies dubbed Abenomics, Kenny expressed support and said a strong Japanese economy will be a benefit to the world, Japanese officials said.

The bilateral meeting in Dublin came after Abe attended the G-8 summit in Northern Ireland, where he joined other leaders from the Group of Eight nations to discuss issues of international concern.

At the two-day G-8 summit that ended Tuesday, Abe apparently won support for his Abenomics policies to pull the Japanese economy out of nearly two decades of deflation.

By strengthening ties with Ireland, Abe is aiming to promote Japan's exports of medical technologies, a key part of his economic growth strategies, to the Irish market where Japanese pharmaceutical and electronics equipment makers have already made inroads.

Abe said Japan and Ireland share the same values, such as those of a market economy and the rule of law, as Tokyo apparently aims to boost trade and investment in Ireland with which China has been trying to strengthen ties.

China has been increasingly reaching out to Ireland in recent years, with President Xi Jinping visiting there in February last year when he was vice president.